Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday the social media giant will have a new parent company named Meta.
Meta comes from the Greek word meaning “beyond" and is a nod to the "metaverse," a science fiction term referring to the online, virtual, and augmented spheres people can access via the internet.
“Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started,” Zuckerberg said.
“Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter on Thursday.
Zuckerberg also held a simulated demonstration of how the company's metaverse could operate.
Here’s our first sneak peek at Facebook’s so called metaverse, a virtual place where you can hang out with friends and so much more. pic.twitter.com/Ld5AY0WIz3— Nathie (@NathieVR) October 28, 2021
The website meta.com will now redirect to a welcome page on Facebook that signifies the change, and the company will change its stock ticker from FB to MVRS, effective Dec. 1st.
Zuckerberg said that it could take a long time, perhaps five to 10 years, for the metaverse to become part of the mainstream, everyday lives of most Americans.
The company announced earlier this week that it would spend approximately $10 billion over the next year to create the large-scale technologies needed to build the metaverse.
The social media giant expects “to invest many billions of dollars for years to come before the metaverse reaches scale,” Zuckerberg said.
“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet,” Zuckerberg added.
Meta said on Thursday that Project Nazare would be the name of its first fully smart glasses, although the glasses are still a few years from being sold to consumers.
Facebook has in recent months been inundated with critical coverage of its products and services after a number of news outlets gained access to internal company documents. Those papers paint the portrait of a company that ignores serious societal problems it has created or made worse.
Most of these revelations have come thanks to internal documents obtained by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who has noted Facebook's effects on teenage girls' mental health, its use by drug cartels and human traffickers, and its special rules for VIPs.
Zuckerberg, during an investor call on Monday, aggressively pushed back against the claims and news reports stemming from the internal documents provided by Haugen, saying that the documents were taken out of context and defending Facebook's record as a force for good.